What Employers Should Know About Current Drug Use Trends

Thanks to the abundance of information collected by several nationally-recognized sources, employers have no excuse for being in the dark about current drug trends.

We’ve rounded up the latest data from key sources so that employers can stay informed about drug use.

Current Drug Use Trends

Illicit Drug Use Overall

The 2013 National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) survey revealed that 24.6 million Americans 12+ are current drug users, meaning they had used at least one illicit drug in the past month. Illicit drug use among employed adults not subject to workplace drug testing was up to 12.5%, higher than in recent years.

Positivity rates for drug tests are up by 5.7%, the first increase since 2003, according to data from the Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index) DTI. And alarmingly, 68.9% of all illicit drug users are employed full- or part-time, according to NSDUH data.

Marijuana Use

As the most commonly-used drug nationwide with 19.8 million users, marijuana has seen a steady usage increase since 2013, with current rates much higher than 2002-2011. Respondents not subject to workplace drug testing reported sharp usage increases, including a high of 10.3% in 2012.

Cocaine Use

Fortunately, the NSDUH did reveal that cocaine use is down compared to early dates; DTI data also shows a decline starting in 2007 in oral fluid and urine testing and in 2008 in hair testing. There was a 33% increase in cocaine use in federally-mandated tests when the cocaine cutoff was lowered in 2011.

Heroin Use

The number of heroin users in 2013 was 289,000, a similar amount to users in 2008 – 2012 but higher than rates from 2002 – 2005. According to data from the National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS), heroin use has increased since 2005 and ranks as the fourth-most common drug of abuse identified in drug testing nationally.

Amphetamine (prescription drug) usage is at the highest recorded level, up 200% in both urine and oral fluid testing. Non-medical users of prescription pain relievers topped out at 4.5 million in 2013.

Fight Current Drug Trends With Workplace Drug Testing

Test Smartly Labs can help you stay abreast of current drug trends to ensure your workplace stays safe and drug-free. For help with your workplace drug testing program, contact your local Test Smartly Labs today.

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